Have you inherited a beautiful old wheellock rifle and are you wondering if it could be worth anything at an auction? When you come to us for a valuation of old pistols, please bring everything you think may relate to the weapon.
A properly conducted firearms appraisal requires thorough knowledge not only of guns and their commercial value, but also of history and the laws governing their possession. Our experts are happy to advise you on these matters!
For example, if you are seriously considering selling your antique revolver or pistol, we advise you to have an official valuation report drawn up. This seems safer to potential buyers and contributes to a faster sale for a better price.
Be aware that in order to have your firearms appraised, you must be legally allowed to own them. To find out if your firearm is legal, please search on the internet using the serial number and year of your firearm. Ownership of deactivated firearms from before 1870 is always legal. We provide more information about which firearms are prohibited and which are not further down the page.
The laws concerning 'license-free weapons' are not always clear to everyone, but our militaria experts at Heritage Auctions Europe are happy to provide advise. In the Netherlands, Art. 18 RWM. (Weapons and Ammunition Regulations) states that there are some weapons which you may have in your possession without a license. This is true for firearms that were produced before January 1, 1870. As long as firearms were made before January 1, 1945, you may also possess them without a license, provided that the weapon cannot fire centerfire cartridges of any caliber, or rimfire cartridges of caliber .22 with a cartridge length greater than 18 mm. Below are a number of well-known firearms covered by the Dutch Weapons and Ammunition Regulations:
You may thus possess these firearms without any licensing. In addition, there are a number of firearms which can centerfire, produced between 1870 and 1945, which, according to the Dutch law, you are allowed to have in your possession. For more details on licensing of fireweapons please contact the auction house to get in touch with our militaria experts.
With regards to modern firearms, you may only possess them if you have permission to do so or if they have been 'disabled' according to certain requirements; the disablement, for example, must be performed by a recognized gunsmith and must be irreversible. Firearms that have not been properly disabled, continue to have the same status under Dutch law as a normally functioning weapon. Even if it is unusable due to rust and dirt. If you have an original weapon in your possession that does not fall under the exemptions of Art. 18 and that you want to sell, you will first have to have it deactivated by a licensed gunsmith.
In terms of its value, it is advised not to disable your firearm if this is not required by law. This is because antique weapons have little value if they have been disabled. Check carefully whether your firearm falls under art. 18 before you have your old pistols or blunderbusses deactivated. The value of your firearm is higher if it has a functioning mechanism and the gun is in its original condition.
Not only art. 18 RWM refers to whether or not you may legally possess firearms and accessories. Also art. 3.2 WWM and art.1.2.4 CWM impose restrictions. Suppose you have a 150-year-old firearm, complete with all its accessories. The accessories perhaps also includes a box of percussion caps. It is doubtful whether or not these caps can still perform their function, but by law you are not allowed to have them in your possession. Prohibited firearms supplies also include reloadable cases, black powder and nitrocellulose gunpowder.
Deactivated firearms are original weapons that were once used and have been expertly disabled by a recognized weapons expert. Usually this is done to be able to trade them or add them to a collection. Nowadays this is done in accordance with EU regulations and can be carried out in the Netherlands. Deactivated weapons are regularly found at our militaria auctions.
For special militaria items, an international arms auction is undoubtedly the best place to sell. It can be hard to reach the collectors who are serious about militaria, and even if you want to sell a deactivated weapon, you have a greater chance of finding a candidate through a worldwide auction house.